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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Who sets the pace?

There is this standard....one that is blurry and confusing.  It's taught in every church and yet, it never looks the same.  It is discussed in every small group and is in the heart of every follower of Christ.  It pokes at our guilt and doesn't fit in a nice, neat, easily defined box.  We use it to judge and put fellow followers down.  We use it to falsely elevate and comfort ourselves into believing we have it right.  We quietly use it to dismantle the fabric of our faith and change what was done into what we need to do.

What is my life supposed to look like if I'm living for You?  Not in a dusty sandals kind of way but in this messed up culture of technology and distraction.....what is it supposed to look like now?  Not by culture or by group, by city or by church....just by me....what is MINE supposed to look like?  

How often do we compare someone else's outward faith to our own?  We see that Susie, and Bonnie, and Blair all are disciplined in a morning routine of devotion.  They regularly post a scripture they read that morning and appear to be the epitome of humble perfection.   Then there is Lisa and Donna and Carrie....from outward appearances (because lets face it regardless of who you are seeing, that is ALL you are seeing) they participate in bible studies, talk about morning quiet time, are perfectly put together and yet they are emasculating to their husbands and they gossip but boy can they serve coffee with a smile at church.  You could pick out a whole other group who can speak deeply about the Lord and use His name in vain in the next sentence.  With no hesitation to curse or speak badly of another.  

No matter how "perfect" or "flawed" our fellow follower is....the vision of what our own faith in action is supposed to look like is flawed.  No two of us are the same.  We are each unique, our lives, our personalities and our histories.  So how on earth would my faith take the shape naturally to be like someone else's?  Not one of my friends has a brain injury.  Scripture speaking about coming to the Lord "in the morning", church, books, people and all manner of resources talking about how we are to wake early in the morning and meet with Him because that is what is right.......and then there is the "first fruits" of our time.  Does first fruits mean simply the first moments or the best moments?   Was it the first actual fruits harvested or was it the best of the best of the harvest?  My best is not in the morning.  I'm frankly not sure when my best is or if it's even at the same time each day.  So in my random chaos of a mind....what is my best?  What and when are my first fruit moments?  

I've spoken previously about a desire to be ceaseless with Him.  My desire does not wane but my behavior does.  I am easily distracted and driven off course.....tossed to and fro by the waves.  I would love to be disciplined like other women I know, those who have that set time and place where they sit to read His Word and talk with Him.  It is not something that comes naturally to me.   It is forced and uncomfortable because it doesn't feel genuine.  I've heard people speak about how some things you just need to do, before the feeling comes and it feels natural.  I get that....but I don't know how to get past the feeling that it is dishonoring to Him to force something like that.  Does it then become legalism from a lukewarm heart?

Is that what it is supposed to look like for me?  Is a morning "devotion" time what He wants for me?  Does He want that kind of action to be a part of my faith life?  Or is it His plan for me to be random?  Am I being tossed by the waves or am I giving myself over to move where and how He wants me to?  Am I seeing my faith through the eyes of my Father or the eyes around me?  Perhaps that spiritual fire doesn't burn the same in each of us.....because it isn't meant to?   What if some of us are meant to burn bright and crackly....noisemakers for God and some are meant to burn deeply....quiet and consistent....an understated heat that keeps the flame going for others....so they can dance with a colored light or shoot off loud crackling sparks?  

Lately I keep hearing messages that feel the the push of "should".   How we should love.  How we should minister.  How we should reach out.  They are all good messages.  All deeply good and right things to preach.  .....but.....inside....it makes something in my spirit twist.  My mind rings with do not conform.....because would He have created us each so lovingly, interestingly, different if He wanted us to conform to one way, one idea of how to do things?   Do not conform to this world can mean more than just the Godless worldling society.....it can also mean conforming to man's boxed idea of how a Christ Follower should function.   It feels like something is missing....some genuine connection to the reality of relationship.  

I love my husband more than air.  It is a love that burns deeply even when we don't speak for hours, I know he is there, I know he loves me and I do not doubt it.  Because I deeply respect him, I do not speak badly of him when he isn't around....I do not curse his name, or behave differently simply because he isn't in the room.  I remain myself - striving to be consistently me (for good or bad) no matter who is around.  Perhaps its the brain injury that makes me this way but I often wonder why others are not the same.  They behave differently depending on who they are with.....they put down their husbands, children or whomever, simply because the other isn't physically present.   I see people make statements on facebook about their children, about wanting to get away from them, how annoying they are or just insulting them.....and I get sick to my stomach because these statements are actually visible to those children.   Why?  How are people so unaware of their words?  

As Christ Followers, it's similar....but worse.   If you actually believe, would you drop the F-bomb right in the face of Jesus?  Cuz...ya just did.   He doesn't just appear like a genie at your beck and call, only to hear what you say at those times.  He is ALWAYS present.  Always hears.  Every curse and every prayer.  He hears every condemning thought you utter in the silence of your mind, every negative word you utter about your spouse, friend or child.....or the stranger in the checkout lane.  EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM MATTER.  They are not dismissed, they are heard and echo in heaven. 

No wonder we can't find common ground.  No wonder we can't find unity in the body of Christ.  The 10 commandments were helps, guides, bumpers on the path to the heavenly pins.  But.....gee those are old....that old testament stuff well, Jesus came so we really don't need that stuff anymore right?  No.  He adhered to them.  He followed them.  We are supposed to follow Him.  When did rules become evil infringements on our rights?  When did we stop realizing that rules are to protect, not to hurt?  

When will we get it together and realize that your walk and my walk are on the same path but our stride is different?  We wear different shoes.  Some walk fast and others slow.  Some have a limp and some run wild.  Some fall.  We are supposed to pick each other up and smile, hug and love and point in the right direction....and then let them go back on their way....not tether them to our side trying to teach them to walk the way we do.   

Jesus, what is my walk supposed to look like?  What is the measure of my stride supposed to be?  Fix my pace and my gate to fit Your plan for my walk.  I don't want to tether anyone to me Lord.  Help me to walk with others when You want me to and to walk alone when You've set that time to be just for You and I.  Help me to know one from the other Lord.  Keep the stones from my hands, I have no right to cast even one.  As others pass me, help me to cheer them on.  When others fall in my path, help me to take their hand and pull them up with love and compassion, urge them to move forward and leave the past behind.  Remind me to constantly drop seeds of joy on my way and to always, always pull weeds by the root.  Don't ever let me believe the lie that you are not walking with me just as intimately as every other person on this path.  I am never higher or lower than anyone else.  May I never be too proud to let someone else help me up when I fall.  

Blessings on your walk with Him, may He set your pace and show you that it is yours alone.
the Mrs.

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